Olympics, Swimming: Flash Rebecca Soni Upsets Leisel Jones With 200 Breast World Record

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 15. FOR two rounds, Rebecca Soni demonstrated impressive form, suggesting that she might have what it takes to knock off Leisel Jones in the 200 breaststroke. But, pulling off the feat would be a monumental task, one that the American was obviously prepared to embrace in Beijing.

Sitting in second to Jones through the opening 100 meters, Soni moved to the lead on the third lap and pulled away over the final 50 meters to capture gold and set a world record of 2:20.22. That mark bettered Jones' 2006 global standard of 2:20.54. Soni split 32.17 at the 50-meter mark, was 1:07.46 at the 100 and 1:43.70 at the 150. She covered the last lap in 36.52 to the 38.34 of Jones.

"It just flowed," Soni said. "I tried to keep my stroke strong. It's something I've been working on. When I was in front, I didn't realize I was beating (Jones). It was a good place to be. I was nervous all day yesterday and this morning, but when I walked out the nerves passed. It was great."

The gold medalist in the 100 breaststroke, Jones easily picked up the silver medal, touching the wall in 2:22.05. Jones was more than two seconds slower than Soni over the last 100 meters, a testament to Soni's staying power. The bronze medal was picked up by Norway's Sara Nordenstam, who clocked a time of 2:23.02 for a European record.

Russian Yuliya Efimova took the fifth spot in 2:23.76 and sixth place went to Canadian Annamay Pierse in 2:23.77. The Japanese duo of Rie Kaneto (2:25.14) and Megumi Taneda (2:25.23) rounded out the field.

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